I can hear you skeptics now. Smoked wheat gluten? Believe it, people. This stuff looks and tastes like Texas brisket – or as close as a vegetarian version can come, anyway. With a nice crusty exterior, it’s even got the “burnt ends” of authentic barbecue. I served this at a party, and the guests – including meat eaters – were practically clawing at each other to eat the seitan, even before it hit the table.
Smoked Seitan [Vegan]
- 1 ½ cups vital wheat gluten
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons. ice water
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
Liquid for simmering
- 10 cups extremely cold water
- 1/3 cups low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 3 Tbsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp dry mustard powder
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- Combine gluten and nutritional yeast in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together water, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, lemon zest and spices.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine.
- Knead dough in the bowl for about 3 minutes until you have a spongy dough (this will look and feel like the most disgusting food ever). Excess liquid will accumulate in the bottom of the bowl, and that’s fine – just leave it in the bowl.
- Let rest for a few minutes, then shape into a log about 7 or 8 inches long. Cut into 3 pieces.
- Put the cold water and soy sauce in a large saucepan and gently put the pieces of dough in the liquid.
- Partially cover the pot and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for one hour, turning the pieces occasionally.
- Let it cool for ten minutes, then remove the seitan.
- As soon as it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the liquid you can, being careful not to break the hunks of seitan.
- Wrap each piece in plastic wrap or place in a zip lock bag and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Rub and smoke
- Start a fire in your smoker. Soak wood chips (preferably hickory) for 45 minutes or more.
- Coat the seitan pieces in the dry rub mixture and put it on a grill basket or right on the grate.
- Throw some wood chips on the hot coals and close the cover.
- Smoke for 1 ½ hours, adding more soaked wood chips occasionally. If your smoker has a thermometer, keep the temperature at about 225.
- Whisk the sauce ingredients together until sugar dissolves.
- Let the smoked seitan cool for 5 minutes, then slice, drizzle with sauce and serve plain or on buns.
It’s best served right after you smoke it – if you reheat it in an oven later, the edges will lose the crispiness.